Unite union is seeking assurances for UK car plants in line with Nissan's, after PSA and General Motors confirmed they were in talks over a possible sale of GM's European business.
The news has led to concerns over job losses in both Germany and the UK. The German economy minister Brigitte Zypries said unions should have been informed of the talks sooner, while Unite boss Len McCluskey has called on the British government to protect jobs.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey met business secretary Greg Clark today, saying the meeting had been "positive" and that Clark had "responded to our call that the government needs to be involved, given the potential sale of Vauxhall Opel to Peugeot".
Peugeot Citroen owner PSA is in discussions to buy GM's European operations, Opel, which includes Vauxhall. Opel employs 38,000 staff in Europe and two-thirds of these are in Germany.
Questions have also been raised over the future of two Britain auto plants in Ellesmere Port and Bedfordshire.
“The UK market is the largest market in the EU for Vauxhall/Opel so GM does have a moral obligation not to turn its back on the communities and workers who have helped make this company what it is today," McCluskey said.
I’ll be speaking to GM as a matter of urgency to find out exactly what its plans are in relation to the UK workforce, and to impress upon the company that the unions must be part of this process going forward.
So too with Peugeot – I want to talk to them to assess whether they are a realistic option for our automotive sector’s future or not.
McCluskey said that UK car plants needed to be offered the same assurances as those given by the government to Nissan "without a shadow of a doubt".
The Japanese company confirmed it will make new models at its Sunderland plant following assurances from the government – the details of which have not been made public.
The department for business said the government was in close contact with GM and monitoring the situation, after the two companies confirmed talks were ongoing yesterday. A spokesperson for the department said the government will "continue to make the case for keeping manufacturing in the UK".